Johanna Nuutinen +Collaborators: Skin Hunger

Beethoven 7 freiheitextasis sasha waltz guests hwanhee hwang rosa dicuonzo ensemble sebastian bolesch 1
Show photographer Sebastian Bolesch

Erkko hall
Duration 1 h 15 min, no intermission
Artist talk after performances on Fri and Sat.

Visceral and hypnotic, SKIN HUNGER explores the grounding force of tactile human experience – the sense of touch.

The largest exterior interface of the nervous system, skin remains the site of our most tender and most brutal impulses.

Through the multifaceted language of movement that draws from the dance of the subconscious, SKIN HUNGER summons a powerful counterforce to the often disembodied experience of our digital age. Binaural soundscape creates an intimate 3 dimensional sound environment for each audience member in this unique staging, creating an immersive auditory connection to the bodies of the 6 international performers.

The performance is experienced through headphones.

The work is part of Dance House Helsinki’s SPARKS project. Supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, SPARKS is an artistic development project which is carried out in 2020–2023. The project will produce three premieres for both the Erkko Hall and Pannu Hall.

Photo: Jussi Ojala

Performance texts

Download texts (pdf)

Choreographer Johanna Nuutinen

SKIN HUNGER explores the mysteries of our sense of touch. Headphones, given to the audience, are a unique element of the performance that creates binaural soundscape and connects every viewer to the bodies of the dancers.

Skin Hunger is part of a series of works exploring sensations. Tell us about the series and how Skin Hunger is set in it?

A few years ago, I noticed that the theme ideas for my works revolved strongly around sensory experiences and how we construct our reality with the help of our sensory perceptions. A large part of this building of reality is also unconscious. In the fast cycle of everyday life, we rarely notice sensory experiences and their impacts. How do sensory experiences resonate in our bodies and how do they affect how we encounter our environment?

From these observations arose the need and curiosity to one by one take one of our senses under a magnifying glass. Build an experience on stage that explores and makes visible how we live at the mercy of our senses. In the previous works we have concentrated on vision and the sense of hearing. In SKIN HUNGER we dive into the world of the sense of touch.

How has the design of the work's soundscape and choreography progressed? What has the collaboration been like?

The experience of touch is often intimate. Private. Sound designer Tuomas Norvio made a great point, at the beginning of the process, that for this piece sound could be a way to bring the performer close to the viewer – on their skin, in a large theatre space. I like this bold and innovative take. The dancer's role and agency in this work are strong. The sound is built in close cooperation with them.

Kuva: Tero Ahonen

The work is part of the SPARKS project. What significance has the project had on the shape of the work?

The Sparks project has offered a great rhythm to the whole process. The three rounds of applications have required a critical re-evaluation of the whole on several occasions, which I think is always a good thing. The financial support offered by the project is also extremely valuable for the entire production.

What does the power of dance mean to you?

Dance is a space where, for me, the unspoken becomes visible. In this space I find my own refuge and pleasure, which is strongly linked to the connection of the rhythm, movement and subconscious.

You have worked as both a dancer and a choreographer. How does your view on dancing change depending on your role?

As a dancer, I focus on the articulation of movement and deepening its flow. Step by step, rhythm by rhythm, the source of pleasure created by dance begins to open. When I watch dance, I dance. From the inside. At best, I surrender to being carried away by someone else.

As a choreographer, the areas of responsibility are wider. I look at the work from a bird's-eye view as a whole. I guide the rhythm of each scene and the whole working group towards the core of the work that is slowly revealing itself.


Johanna Nuutinen

Auri Ahola, Jonna Aaltonen, Amie-Blaire Chartier, Jack Traylen, Yi-Chi Lee, Georgios Pelagias, Francesc Nello Deakin (understudy)

Johanna Nuutinen with the dancers

Text: Melissa A.Thompson with Johanna Nuutinen and the dancers

Sound and musici:
Tuomas Norvio

Additional musicians:
Eriikka Maalismaa, viulu
Tapani Rinne, bassoklarinetti

Additional music:

Maan korvessa kulkevi lapsosen tie (Suojelusenkeli)

Comp. Pekka Juhani Hannikainen 1898

Lyr. Immi Hellén 1884

Inari Sámi translation: Ilmari Mattu

Space, light and video design:
Joonas Tikkanen

Costume design:
Joona Huotari

Realization of the costumes: Renne Lehto, Satu Sarantaus, Joona Huotari

Dramaturgical support:
Melissa A.Thompson

Introductory voice: Heidi Ajanto

Technical production:
Lauri Lundahl (space), Eero Keskinen (sound)

Sound operator:

Eero Keskinen

Light operator:

Lauri Lundahl


Johanna Nuutinen, Tanssin talo

Production assistant: Karmen Hellenurm

Media assistant: Elviira Naarala (on-the-job training)

Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Helsinki, Kone Foundation, Finnish Cultural Foundation, Ministry of Education and Culture
Taiteen Edistämiskeskus, Helsingin kaupunki, Koneen Säätiö, Suomen Kulttuurirahasto, Opetus- ja Kulttuuriministeriö

Special thanks to:

People interviewed for the creation process, Anni-Kaisa Ojala & Jussi Ojala (RokoRok),Jarkko Lehmus, Natasha Lommi, Pekka Louhio, Saida Solla (the artists involved in the residency in 2021), Silentsystem Audio, the staff and technical department of Dance House Helsinki.


Johanna Nuutinen has created stage and cinema productions at the crossroads of visual and performing arts since 2011. Her work has been performed at more than 40 international film festivals and several dance festivals in Finland and abroad. She has created commissioned works for the Finnish National Ballet, the West Australian Ballet, Tero Saarinen Company and Skånes Dansteater. Before embarking on a freelance career in 2017, she was a dancer at the Finnish National Ballet.

In 2016 Johanna Nuutinen +Collaborators dance production platform was formed to support the artistic work which Johanna Nuutinen creates with a team of highly talented and visionary sound, light and costume designers as well as dancers and dramaturgs. During the next three years Johanna and her team will be investigating the world of senses and our sensory experience. The series will consist of three works that deal with visual perception as well as tactile and auditory senses through virtuosic motion, hypnotic visuality and the visceral world of sound.

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